Student journalist to receive 2013 Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism

EUGENE, Ore. -- (May 7, 2013) -- The UO School of Journalism and Communication will present the 2013 Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism on Thursday, May 9, at 6 p.m. This year's award will go to Robert "Alex" Green, a student journalist from Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn.

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Brent Walth will lead a panel discussion immediately following the ceremony, which is free and open to the public. A reception will begin at 5:30 p.m.

The panel discussion led by Brent Walth, a SOJC alumnus who currently works for Willamette Week, also includes Green; Steve Duin, columnist for The Oregonian; Nancy Copic, assistant director of student media at the University of Portland; and Lauren Dillard, communications consultant for Hewlett Packard and former editor of the Oregon State University Barometer.

Green, editor of the student-run paper the Triangle, used a campus photocopier to publish a story about the arrest and resignation of a Bible professor at his conservative Christian college when the college administration forbade its publication. His actions landed the school, with a student body of approximately 1,000, in the national spotlight during fall of 2012.

Green was in his second month as editor when professor David Morgan’s departure from the faculty was announced. Although the message from the college was that Morgan was leaving for better opportunities, Green learned later that the professor had been arrested on charges of attempted aggravated molestation after allegedly attempting to meet a minor for sex.

Green wrote the story after alerting his college president to the newly discovered facts. When the president’s office and administration refused to let him publish the story in the Triangle, Green spent his own money to photocopy and distribute fliers to the Bryan student body, an act that put Green at risk for expulsion and landed the college in the national spotlight.

Among the previous winners of the Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism are The New York Times, for its coverage of Wikileaks; Farnaz Fassihi, The Wall Street Journal’s Middle East bureau chief; and The Seattle Times.

 “While we had a number of strong entries from journalists and journalism organizations this year, Alex Green’s entry best exemplifies the spirit of the Ancil Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism,” said Tim Gleason, Edwin L. Artzt Dean of the School of Journalism and Communication and chair of the judging panel. “We applaud not only his courage in reporting the story but the thought process he shared with us about his ordeal.”

“The thoughtful and sophisticated way in which Alex approached the story and the resulting fallout is above and beyond what we might typically expect from a student journalist,” Gleason added.

The 14th annual Ancil Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism will be presented in the new Allen Hall, School of Journalism and Communication at the University of Oregon in Eugene. Registration is available at journalism.uoregon.edu/reg.

 More information about the Ancil Payne Awards for Ethics in Journalism, including a list of past winners, is available at payneawards.uoregon.edu, or contact Zanne Miller, project manager, 541-206-4335 or zanne@uoregon.edu.

About the Ancil Payne Awards for Ethics in Journlism

Ancil Payne, a legend in Seattle broadcasting, established the Payne Awards at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication in 1999 “to honor the journalist of integrity and character who reports with insight and clarity in the face of political or economic pressures and to reward performance that inspires public trust in the media.” Payne, who died in October 2004, was former CEO of KING Broadcasting; under his leadership, the company developed a national reputation for its commitment to ethical journalism.

About the University of Oregon

The University of Oregon is among the 108 institutions chosen from 4,633 U.S. universities for top-tier designation of "Very High Research Activity" in the 2010 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education. The UO also is one of two Pacific Northwest members of the Association of American Universities.

MEDIA CONTACT: Zanne Miller, UO School of Journalism and Communication, 541-206-4335; zanne@uoregon.edu

Note: The University of Oregon is equipped with an on-campus television studio with satellite uplink capacity, and a radio studio with an ISDN phone line for broadcast-quality radio interviews.

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Student journalist to receive 2013 Ancil Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism